This time of year is powerful in enhancing our fitness regime – or yoga practice. It is a time where we can make space to create new habits while discarding old. I am hoping to give my students the ability to continue their practice at home in addition to their studio practice to create a health filled new habit.
I have been reading some interesting articles of late, as I attempt to establish my own goals for the year. Ultimately, I hope to be the best I can be at being a healthier version of myself, wife, mother, friend, teacher, student, business owner (??) and citizen of the world. My ego wants desperately to maintain the feeling (& look) of youth – as I age into this, the most scariest of age milestones to date – and it requires a flexible body and flexible mind. My intention this year is to resolve to evolve. My yoga journey is key to achieving this.
I have talked of goals recently, and I wrote a blog article (link is here) on the processes of setting them. However I’ve come to realize, that it is the journey, not the destination or ultimate vision, that is the most important part. Setting intentions is the journey. Intentions are far more concerned about self love, self preservation and self care than striving for whatever the ultimate reward delivers – if we get there at all. Intentions focus more on internal power and long-term habitual change, whereas goals focus more on external and sometimes, short-lived rewards.
The language we use to set goals can deviate into a subconscious exercise of self-loathing. For example, I must lose weight (note to self – you’re fat), I must stop drinking wine (you’re an unhealthy lush), I must be better at … I must stop … I must, I must, I must … The assumption is that who we are, is not good enough, it kind of reinforces the mistaken belief that happiness depends on acquiring – my flat belly – for example.
The Sanskrit word for setting an intention is sankalpa, literally translated as “will, purpose or determination”. We often set an intention for our yoga practice, sometimes one we can take off the mat and into our daily lives. A word, a phrase, a string of encouraging phrases, something positive that will serve us in the present moment…all day. A sankalpa starts from the basis we are already the best we are in order to fulfill our desires. As an example of sankalp, instead of saying “I want to lose 5 kilo’s by …” my intention shall be “I will practice self-care by eating nourishing and healing foods”.
So before we start, let’s accept ourselves as we are. Let’s embrace ourselves, we are strong, worthy and open to new possibilities. Let’s set our journey with self loving intentions and work together to achieve…..